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The Pollution Solution


Text: Ephesians 2:2-4A

To fully appreciate how vast the work that God has done for sinners we must understand the problem, the dreadful polluted corrupt nature into which and with which we are born.  Paul introduces the subject here…

1 The Spread of the Pollution.

When we looked at chapter 1:12-13 we saw Paul using a literary duality, – he talked about how WE trusted Christ, the Jewish Christians were the fist to place their trust in Jesus as their Messiah, and the Gentile Christians, living in Ephesus and the other churches throughout the Gentile world also trusted, trusting in Christ, their Saviour and Lord. They were from different backgrounds, different religious traditions, different views of morality and ethics, – but in Christ they were united – they had all, at one point responded to God’s grace by trusting the Saviour. Now he uses a similar tactic in Chapter 2:2-3. He speaks of YOU and WE. Verse 2, “Ye walked…” Verse 3, “We all had our conversation…”  When Paul uses “You” he is speaking about the Gentile Christians, and when he uses “We” he is speaking about the Jewish Christians. The reason why both Jews and Gentiles had needed to trust Christ is because the members of both groups were by nature and practice sinners.  

2 The Stench of the Pollution.

Paul makes a list of the wickednesses, the nefarious underlying influences that are at work in the world, and consequently are governing and directing the Sin-polluted life. 

  1. Compliance. ye walked according to the course of this world.  Life is lived, by and large in compliance with the values and standards of the world, and that is often determined by the people who are the loudest voices.  
  2. Conflict. There is no peace in the Christ-less heart. There is always a conflict taking place both in the world and within the people who live in it, and Paul summarises it for us here. It is an:
    1. Active obedience to Satan. according to the prince of the power of the air.  This phrase, ‘prince of the power of the air’ is an intriguing description of Satan, the adversary, and the ruler of the kingdoms of darkness. The sin-polluted soul is, knowingly or unknowingly living in obedience to that master. 1 John 5:19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness (‘πονηρός (ponēros) – the evil one)  Why do the people who govern us govern us use lies as a weapon against us? Because they are, in their sin-polluted world, actively obedient to their father the devil, who is the father of all lies.  John 8:44  But there’s two sides to this coin:-
    2. Active disobedience of God. the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Not only is the sin-polluted world a world of obedience to their father, the devil, the father of lies, but it is in active rebellion, – disobedience against God. Even when the Sin-polluted mind knows that there is a God, a Creator, and even when they are aware of the eternal consequences of their rebellion, they persist in their refusal to acknowledge the rightful claims of their Creator over their lives.

Now, this conflict, this allegiance to Satan and rebellion against God is because the prince of the power of the air is AT WORK within the children of disobedience, using them as weapons, as infantrymen in his satanic struggle against God.

  1. Conduct. we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh. The word ‘conversation’ here should not be thought of as speech alone. ἀναστρέφω (anastrephō) is our way of life, how we conduct ourselves, what directs our actions and thoughts, and that motivation is ME. What I want. To follow my own heart, my own sinful heart. To live how it pleases ME, regardless of the natural order of things or the law of God. And…
  2. Craving. Among whom also, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. We would think of this as a reference to the common sexual degradation that has persisted in the Sin-polluted society from the fall of man. But it is not that alone. Paul speaks about the desires of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21  

So, we have a graphic description of the state of the polluted soul. It is a life of compliance with the philosophies of the world, a life of conflict – siding with the devil and his forces against God. 

3 The Seriousness of the Pollution.

  • Consequences. and were by nature the children of wrath, So how can this pollution of the soul be mended? The first step is to recognise the true state of that soul. And the consequences of it. Paul uses the phrase:-
    • By nature. This dreadful pollution is not something we learn, not the result of a lack of education, or financial deprivation – some of the most privileged people are among the most wicked. It is our human condition from before we were born, from the moment of conception. King David said, in Psalm 51:5  We are all sinners, BY NATURE.  
    • Children of wrath. We are under the sentence of death because of our sins. Ezekiel 18:20  Romans 6:23 It is a just sentence, against which no-one on judgment day will be able to complain. Confronted by the holiness and purity of God, and standing in the dock,  ashamed in our own sinfulness, no-one can utter a word.  Romans 3:19  But we mustn’t think that we are free of condemnation right now, for Jesus warned his disciples, in John 3:18  Without Christ we are not the children of God, we are the children of wrath. Our condition is hopeless without…
    • The wrath of God. God does not go into a rage and fly off the handle, he doesn’t have huffs or fits of pique, he is not temper driven. His WRATH is righteous anger with the rebellion of his created beings. Romans 1:18   
  • Intervention. Ephesians 2:4 But God… And here is hope. Paul begins his next verse with just two words, words that change everything. We are sinners, we deserve to be punished, to eternal death, BUT GOD! God has intervened on our behalf. In his great love for us, he has initiated a serious, costly rescue plan. He gave his only begotten Son, FOR US at the cross, to take upon himself our hell. Our punishment.

In our next lesson, we shall see something of that great love wherewith he has loved us, the only solution to the soul’s pollution.

© Bob McEvoy

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